Self-Guided Mental Health Apps Targeting Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups: Scoping Review

Fiby Saad, Mia Eisenstadt, SHAUN LIVERPOOL, Courtney Carlsson, Isabella Vainieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background:
The use of mental health apps (MHAs) is increasing rapidly. However, little is known about the use of MHAs by racial and ethnic minority groups.

Objective:
In this review, we aimed to examine the acceptability and effectiveness of MHAs among racial and ethnic minority groups, describe the purposes of using MHAs, identify the barriers to MHA use in racial and ethnic minority groups, and identify the gaps in the literature.

Methods:
A systematic search was conducted on August 25, 2023, using Web of Science, Embase, PsycINFO, PsycArticles, PsycExtra, and MEDLINE. Articles were quality appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool, and data were extracted and summarized to form a narrative synthesis.

Results:
A total of 15 studies met the inclusion criteria. Studies were primarily conducted in the United States, and the MHAs designed for racial and ethnic minority groups included ¡Aptívate!, iBobbly, AIMhi- Y, BRAVE, Build Your Own Theme Song, Mindful You, Sanadak, and 12 more MHAs used in 1 study. The MHAs were predominantly informed by cognitive behavioral therapy and focused on reducing depressive symptoms. MHAs were considered acceptable for racial and ethnic minority groups; however, engagement rates dropped over time. Only 2 studies quantitatively reported the effectiveness of MHAs among racial and ethnic minority groups. Barriers to use included the repetitiveness of the MHAs, stigma, lack of personalization, and technical issues.

Conclusions:
Considering the growing interest in MHAs, the available evidence for MHAs for racial and ethnic minority groups appears limited. Although the acceptability seems consistent, more research is needed to support the effectiveness of MHAs. Future research should also prioritize studies to explore the specific needs of racial and ethnic minority groups if MHAs are to be successfully adopted.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere48991
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalJMIR Mental Health
Volume10
Issue number1
Early online date6 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • mental health apps
  • racial and ethnic minority groups
  • self-guided
  • mental health
  • culturally appropriate technology

Research Institutes

  • Health Research Institute

Research Centres

  • Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing
  • Centre for Social Responsibility
  • Sport and Mental Health Research Centre

Research Groups

  • Children and Young People Research Network

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